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How can I seek redress for the behaviour of a Council Clerk?

+1 vote
I complained to my local Parish Council about the Council Clerk, specifically ignoring valid points of order (which later lead to a code of conduct violation by another Councillor) writing substantially inaccurate minutes, and misrepresentation in the press (It was libellous but I didn't want to escalate it). I offered overwhelming evidence supporting each claim (they refused to consider the evidence) and subsequently the personnel committee exonerated the Clerk and did not explain their decision in detail.
FYI: most members of the personnel committee don't like me as I commonly ask 'difficult' questions and are they are all friendly with the Clerk.

I tired to get the Local Government Ombudsman and my local monitoring officer to investigate however both have stated it is not in their remit. It seems that this Clerk is completely unaccountable for her actions.

What options are there to seek redress for the behaviour of this Clerk?
asked by (200 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Of course the problem here is that such matters all  points have a subjective face that should be considered .In such cases clear specification of the matter being complained about should be the basis upon which an investigation can be progressed. It is a mistake to provide a long list of gripes which can look like an emotional build up. Times, places and factual evidence should be presented which enables a clear and precise answer to be provided on the points made. If such answers are not forthcoming then the failure point can be pressed home until an answer is given.
Making multiple accusations in one big package allows the accused the possibility to pick and chose which items are incorrect or inaccurate thereby casting doubt on ALL points raised and prove the point they  are being attacked by someone who doesn't like them .If you then have a biased committee(your assumption) this does not allow the best investigation to take place and an honest conclusion to be arrived at. Do not give them the reason to kick  it into the long grass
answered by (4.7k points)
0 votes
It might be possible to get your Council's external auditor to at least inform the Council that they have governance issues and issue recommendations to resolve them which would appear in the public domain.  That would depend on the Clerk making false declarations on the governance return section of the AGAR and being responsible for actions that could have an adverse financial impact on the council.
answered by (16.4k points)
+2 votes
Short answer there is no way to seek redress

What’s happening to you is commonplace throughout the country where some Clerks are allowed to do exactly what they want and Councillors are either incapable of addressing the problem or don’t want the aggravation of trying to address it
I know of Parish Councils where the Clerks poor behaviour is tolerated even though they would be instantly suspension or dismissed in other parts of the public sector or private industry
Don’t get me wrong I’ve met many brilliant Clerks but even they would admit that some of their colleagues fall far short of expectations
answered by (2.4k points)
0 votes
The role of the parish clerk is changing and they are starting to have to be more accountable and more IT literate.

some clerks are struggling with this evolution
answered by (3.1k points)
+1 vote
It isn't clear from your post whether the Clerk's deemed shortcomings result from a determination to act in a particular manner or merely a lack of understanding and/or training. I am aware of several clerks who were appointed by councils seeking somebody to take the minutes and record the financial transactions and these elderly ladies now find themselves trapped, completely out of their depth, in a role that has changed beyond all recognition. There's an unspoken agreement between the two parties to look after each other, but this can have unforeseen consequences.
answered by (22.5k points)
The Staffing committee hog their position, will not allow any other members to participate, dislike questions, the minutes are very scant, a member of the staff committee is related to a member of staff. Standing orders state (a) The Proper Officer shall be either (i) the clerk or (ii) other staff member(s) nominated by the council to undertake the work of the proper officer when the proper officer is absent yet they do not want any other member of staff to stand in when the clerk is absent, the Chair thinks she is in charge and can make decisions. Time things changed.
I have had a similar situation in that I have a dispute about the way one of my PCs charities is run. The clerk would not get involved in the dispute as a separate charity of which she was a trustee was connected to the offending charity. At one stage I formally wrote the clerk asking for her opinion on whether the charity's trustee's actions were unlawful, She did not acknowledge me or reply. Instead she wrote to the trustees of the charity (all unlawfully appointed) advising them that they should make sure they were  insured and apologising for my persistence which they said Cllrs had tried to  "dissuade".  Shame on her.
I am appalled at the behaviour of some councillors who appear to collude with the Clerk. The Clerk undertakes training and never tells us the outcomes. There needs to be a proper system of accountability in place as the Clerks and Chairs are stifling growth and manipulating the discussions, hiding public correspondence, we have no register of clerks interest. There is too much unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy when the select few want it.

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